Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor zaddy Steve was titled Dead Man Walking and sent to exile beach to continue to look like a babe. Strong, silent, solo and sexy. Despite dominating the immunity challenge from the start, he was tragically pipped at the post by Brian allowing him to use his bond with Shonella to try and take him out. Sadly for them, Monika was being wooed by Sharn and Shane though despite things looking hopeful, poor Steve was sent to the Jury Villa and we missed out on the chance of having Michelle Bridges appear at the family visit.

Side note: could you imagine if it were a family visit where the family compete. Swoon. Swoon. We fucking missed out. Swoon.

The next day Brian was feeling proud to be the last man standing, and celebrated by smashing a secret pawpaw. He was also feeling super confident thanks to his strong four person alliance, which feels like it is going to come back and bite him in the butt, right? Shonella too decided to go have some secret pawpaws, thrilled that people continue to underestimate them despite the fact they’re a power couple who are the last remaining people from their tribe and continue to slip through unnoticed. Well, until Brian wanders through and finds them smashing said pawpaw, despite their best attempts to chuck it out and run away. Which is what I would do slash why I love them. Oh … and they’re either the final two or are about to get screwed.

On the other end of the spectrum, poor Shane was feeling all the feels now that she has lost her bestie, my zaddy Steve. Add in the fact she and Sharn are a duo up against four people, and everything is hopeless for the woman not to be fucked with. Knowing they were screwed Sharn tried to go idol hunting to find a way out of said mess, though as a backup hoped that they could try and get Shonella to join them to take out Brian instead. Sharn checked in with Shonella, who weren’t really open to her suggestions given that her attempts to sow seeds of distrust actually reinforced what Brian had previously told them. Shonella then started to feel confident about their position and damn, now I am really nervous about our Queens.

Shonee took the intel back to Brian, which pissed him off and made him decide that Sharn needs to go next. Despite that already being his plan, since that is what she told the girls to try and get them to flip. Anyway, as such Brian went to Sharn to see what went down slash show her that he is the one in control. She admitted to trying to get him out, he identified her as the biggest threat and Sharn knew that she couldn’t ever trust Shonella. Sharn then went idol hunting in the hopes of a miracle and lo and behold, she found one and essentially channeled Shane by saying that she is now the one not to be fucked with.

Not wanting to leave us in suspense for too much longer Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways would have to a long, hard horizontal pole for as long as possible. Last person hanging wins immunity. Which is where I assume I would shine on the show, since that is where my limited skills lie. That being said, it isn’t really riveting viewing and after ten minutes downwind from Brian ‘Grubby Bum’ Lake, Fenella dropped followed closely by Sharn and Shane. Brian tried to convince Shonee to drop reassuring her that she is safe, though the icon had no intention of dropping. After twenty-five minutes Monika did a rare back-flop off the pole, leaving Brian and Shonee to battle it out for immunity. After half an hour Brian continued to beg Shonee to trust him, making her laugh as she thought he should be able to trust her. Ultimately though Shonee dropped, handing Brian his third immunity and guaranteeing a woman would finally call the jury home. Which just made me realise how much I would love being juror number six. Swoon.

Back at camp Brian was feeling super confident now that he is safe. Shane went for a water run, with Sharn stalking closely behind leaving the power alliance time to confirm how to split the votes. With that out of the way, Brian and the girls lay back to enjoy the sun leaving Sharn and Shane the opportunity to scramble for a solution. Sharn filled Shane in on her idol, which she was happy about however realised that that left her screwed, inspiring Shane to find a way to convince everyone to throw their votes on Sharn in order to get rid of Fenella with the idol.

Shane decided her best chance would be to play into Brian’s ego, praising him in the hopes of getting him to vote for Sharn. She then went to Monika to play up Sharn’s threat level, juicing the hell of her as she loved playing the sneaky game. Monika pulled Sharn aside to tell her about Shane’s betrayal, unaware that they were working together to put the target solely on her back to execute their idol play. Monika returned to camp, assuring everyone that Sharn is behaving exactly how they should expect and clearly doesn’t have an idol. Confident, Brian then took Shonella aside and suggested that they should just throw a vote behind Shane and the rest on Sharn. Which Shonella were very against … as they headed out to tribal.

At tribal council Steve continued to be bae – albeit a salty one – while Brian revelled in his winning form leaving Shane to dominate him and calling him a sloth based off the immunity challenge. Once more proving not to fuck with Shane Gould. Fenella and Monika praised him on laying low and making a move when needed, while Shane pretty much said it was unlikely that he will actually make it to the end. Brian however said he had faith in his allies, much to Steve’s chagrin. Shane spoke about being left right out with Sharn and that one of them would be going home tonight, with Brian defending his alliance as the OG underdogs and that Shane and Sharn shouldn’t get sympathy. They then spoke about the alliance eventually needing to turn on each other and as such, it isn’t very safe. JoJo asked Fenella whether she and Shonee were dangerous as a pair, with Fenella pointing out that there are three pairs left and they are all just as dangerous. Sharn countered that their is still a hierarchy and as such her pair is powerless and that being trustworthy should count for something.

With that the tribe voted and Sharn, as expected, played her latest idol negating three votes against her and somehow, some way sending Fenella out of the game. Much to Shonee and my rage. I was screaming into the abyss off the edge of the jury villa, wondering why they wouldn’t stick to the vote split. Just to be safe. Since it was completely doable. Unless, that was Brian’s wicked plan all along, in which case, well played. But why did it have to be Fenella. I don’t know if it was because she was down a bestie or because I was clearly spiralling, but she walked into the villa, scooped me up in her arms and told me it was all going to be ok. While I didn’t believe her, it was at that moment I caught a waft of Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls and started to feel ok.

 

 

The sweetness of the apples and aniseed of the fennel work together to make these babies a next level sausage roll experience – no offence Alyssa, Keira or Kim, obvi. Throw in the flaky pastry and the view of zaddy Steve swimming laps in the pool and I was in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground, plus extra whole ones for sprinkling
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 granny smith apples, grated
1kg minced pork
½ cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
3 sheets puff pastry, halved
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the carrot, fennel, chilli and apple and cook for a further ten minutes or so, until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once hella chill like Shonella being baller, transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, breadcrumbs and a big whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the pastry on a clean surface and place a thin sausage shape of the meat mixture in the middle. Brush one of the long edges with egg and roll the pastry halves to form sausage rolls.

Cut into 2-3 inch rolls and place on lined baking sheets. Brush with egg, sprinkle with fennel seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and brown.

Devour, in honour of one half of the greatest duo in Australian Survivor history babes.

 

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Amanda Seyfried Brie

Party Food, Side, Snack, That Is So Fetch Week

I had had a dream that Lindsay Lohan would be able to drop by as a surprise first That Is So Fetch Week, Mean Girls Day celebration but then she started attacking Syrian woman in Moscow – on transit here, no less – and I thought mamma mia, I can’t have her here right now so quickly booked a private jet for Amanda Seyfried and brought her visit up a day.

Mand and I first met through the divine Susan Lucci. Suze was completely in awe of her talent, gave me a call and said, “Ben my dear. I’ve found another ingenue that you just have to meet and shape her career so that she can become a star.”

Obviously I take Susan’s opinion very seriously, so I jumped on the very next plane to the All My Children set to see for myself.

Immediately, I was taken by her talent and I grabbed my rolodex of hate because I hate the phone, not my friends obvi. Oh and yeah, I coined the term, but whatevs – to see if there was anything my friends were doing that would be suitable.

Tina doll, aren’t you writing that movie about bullying?” I naively said, implying that Mean Girls would just be a story of my life, rather than an iconic film.

“I’ve met this girl and I feel she could add some depth to the bimbo girl I told you about from school.”

With that, Mands snatched the role of Karen and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I don’t even mind that she has co-starred with Meryl twice while I am yet to make it into one of her movies.

Given how busy she has been with Mamma Mia 2 and raising her young girl, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like. But thankfully our friendship is one that you can slip straight back into like no time has passed at all. Though how could things be awkward when you’ve got a plate of Amanda Seyfried Brie sitting in front of you.

 

 

Hot and gooey on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, these fried portions of cheese prove that sometimes, somehow, you can improve on perfection. So like hang in there, you know? Maybe I should be a motivational speaker too …

Enjoy!

 

 

Amanda Seyfried Brie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
250g brie
1 egg, whisked
1 tbsp buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Cut the brie into wedges. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl, place the breadcrumbs in a second and a heap of flour in the third with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Coat the brie in flour, dip it in the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined plate and leave to set for fifteen minutes or so … before re-dipping in the egg and breadcrumbs. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour.

When you’re ready to go, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and when nice and hot, cook a few pieces at a time for a minute or so, flipping once, or until golden brown.

Devour immediately with Chillijamin McKenzie, being careful of the molten cheese.

 

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Gregk Meatballouganis

Main, Party Food, Snack

Well do I have a gag of the season for you – and surprisingly that is neither what he or I said – I came clean to Greg about only reaching out in ‘88 to try and snatch the rights to his story that eventually lead to Breaking the Surface starring Mario Lopez. And not only that, he laughed, told me he always knew that and was just pleased to have my friendship once again.

After meeting at the University of Miami in the late ‘70s, I was immediately drawn to Greg’s talent on stage and in speedos and I made it my goal to get together and live out our twincest life. I was successful and for a beautiful couple of months, I was known around campus as Greg’s lubed anu … well, let’s just say people knew I was always ready for him to dive in.

As I mentioned, things got ugly when he found out I was mainly pushing him in to diving to make room for me to star on the stage. Thankfully three decades on, he appreciates the fact that it inadvertently motivated him to succeed in diving and as such, he should be thanking me for making him the success that he is.

Which I quickly told him I wouldn’t just appreciate, I required it before he got to eat anything.

He laughed it off as a joke though his thanks and praise seemed genuine enough that I opted against starting another feud and instead, enjoyed his company and reconnected. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, we got to fill our mouths with as many big, meaty balls as our hearts desired. In the form of my Gregk Meatballouganis.

 

 

Honouring both our love for ball play and his father’s Greek heritage, these big morsels are near perfection. Spicy, sweet and packing pockets of creamy feta, these lamb meatballs work well as a snack, in a yiros or – gasp – accompanying a big ol’ salad (what have I become).

Enjoy!

 

 

Gregk Meatballouganis
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup oregano leaves, roughly chopped
100g feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place everything in a large bowl and scrunch until it is well combined and thoroughly mixed.

Using meat hands, shape into golf ball-sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet until all the mixture is gone. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until cooked through and crispy on the outside.

Allow to rest for five minutes before devouring, preferably covered in tzatziki.

 

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Shanitzel Carroll

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra sent 15 girls into the finals and straight into Model Manor in the Hollywood Hills. One by one – from Maggie to Ivana, Liz, Rhiyan, Coura, Liberty, Christina, Sandra, Brendi K, Erin and Rio – they left the competition until only four remained. Jeana by the skin of her teeth, after being saved for the second time which was an act of the devil known as Philipp Plein. Shanice came from nothing to be a rising star, Kyla lost herself but found her way by begging for Life Size 2, Khrystyana was a saint we don’t deserve and Jeana, well, she is either getting a militantly aggressive edit or is a huge bitch.

The final four went straight from panel to be ogled and judged by Philipp Plein at the fitting for what I will loosely term his runway. Kyla was quick to congratulate all the girls, Shanice was over it and just wanted a winner to be selected and we got a supercut of Khrystyana winning literally everything. Kyla was nervous to arrive at Philipp Plein, knowing that she isn’t the best at runway and he could cut her at any minute. Jeana on the flipside was super confident since Philipp’s penis really wanted to see her on the runway. Time’s up Philipp, you creep.

Continued to destroy any shred of a decent image, Philipp hated Khrystyana’s walk, specifically calling her a horse a couple of times which managed to erode all the work she has done to build up self-confidence over the years. Shanice was stuck in her head, getting read by both Philipp and Jeana who we can safely confirm are two of the three horsemen of the apocalypse. Speaking of which, Jeana thought flirting constitutes telling him she won his clothes rather than paying for them. In any event, no one got cut which is three goods, one crap.

Back at the house Khrystyana brokedown over how awful Philipp was to her, feeling ugly and not worthy of a place in the competition. Her eyes were still red by the time Tyra Mail arrived announcing their final shoot for their Paper spread.

Thankfully the shoot replaced Philipp with Drew … however he came bearing the bad news that based on Cunty Plein’s feedback, the panel decided to eliminate – not Jeana, gloated Jeana – Shanice from the competition pre-shoot.

While she was heartbroken to find herself cast off the set while a literally demon that has been twice eliminated continued in the competition, she cheered up when she saw me, her dearest friend, waiting for her backstage. Particularly when she noticed the big fat Shanitzel Caroll I was packing.

 

 

Soft, tender chicken, a delightfully crunchy crumb, melty sharp cheese, a whack of chilli and a zing of lemon. Do you need anymore reason to head to the kitchen and smash a schnit?

Enjoy!

 

 

Shanitzel Carroll
Serves: 2-4, depending on you need for comfort.

Ingredients
2 chicken breast fillets, sliced in half and pounded into 1cm(ish) thick fillets
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup finely grated parmesan
½ tsp ground chilli
zest of 1 lemon
small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
milk
flour, for dredging
olive oil spray (because you know frying scares me)
fries or Gabriel Mash to serve

Method
Preheat oven 180°C.

After you’ve pounded the chicken breasts within a centimetre of their life, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, chilli, lemon zest and parsley in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Whisk the milk and egg in another and the flour in a final third bowl.

To assemble, coat the chicken in the flour and dust off any excess. Dip in the egg wash and then straight into the cheesy crumb. Transfer to a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until all schnitz are crumbed.

Spray the schnitzels with some olive oil and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty-thirty minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

Serve generously with chips and gravy or mashed potato. Or you know, salad, but we all know you don’t make friends with that. So I’d advise devouring with potato of some form.

 

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Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini

Party Food, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: China, Tapas

Can you believe that the premiere of Survivor is five days away? Well you better, because it is … and I am bursting out of my skin with excitement. After kicking off my countdown with past champs Vecepia, Tom and Danni, I knew there was only one person I could have over to round things out – my boy Todd Herzog!

Todd has had an extremely well publicised battle with alcoholism over the last couple of years (which was subsequently taken advantage of by Dr. Phil), but I’m pleased to say that unlike me, he is doing really well. And it filled me with such joy to see him, happy and healthy.

And ready to welcome another person into the winner’s circle.

As you may have assumed, I played a large role in Todd’s problem, always wanting to give him one more drink … but thankfully he hasn’t held that against me and we’ve been able to maintain our close friendship.

Todd truly is an icon of Survivor and, in my not at all humble opinion, is one of the best winners and gave one of the best final tribal performances of all time. Let’s be honest, the jury wanted one of the girls to win before Todd schooled them, and charmed his way to a million dollars.

If it isn’t already abundantly clear, I love Todd and desperately want him to return when he is well enough.

Anyway, we laughed, we cried and we ran the odds on who we want to win (heart, Jacob) and who we think will win (please Wendell or Kellyn). As is always the case here, I found it to be extremely hunger inducing, so whipped us up a batch of Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini.

 

 

Now I love me some arancini … but when they taste like this, how could you not? The creamy risotto, the woody mushroom and the whack of the gorgonzola. These babies are heavenly.

Enjoy!

 

 

Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups chicken stock
olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
250 mixed mushrooms, finely chopped
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry vermouth
⅔ cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup flour
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
150g gorgonzola, diced

Method
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer. Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sweat for 5 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the mushies and cook for a further five minutes, or until soft before adding the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes, or until the rice starts to get translucent around the edges.

Stir through the vermouth, followed by half a cup of the warm stock and stir until the liquid has just all absorbed. Add another half cup of stock and repeat the process until it is all gone, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the parmesan and seasonings, and stir to combined. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

To assemble, place the breadcrumbs in one bowl, the flour in another and whisk the egg and milk in another. With wet hands, take 1-2 cup of risotto in your hands, form a ball while squeezing out all the air. Form a whole in the centre, press the gorgonzola inside, enclose and roll. Repeat until they’re all done.

When you’re ready to crumb, roll each arancini in flour, followed by egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process and place on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and place in the oven to bake for fifteen-twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour.

 

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Maccie Cheesing

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, Pasta

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra returned to her kingdom, now with new underlings. Did we mentioned Tyra returned, Tyra Banks, the boss, the boss Tyra Banks, is back. Well she is, and then she put the semi-finalists through their paces in interview/runway/photo shoot challenge before being whittled down to a top 14. Before that though we met Liberty the Trump supporter, old-Erin and poor Khrystyana who was yelled at by Liz for some reason. Ty-Ty then dropped the bomb that instead of a top fourteen, fifteen girls would be moving forward giving old-Erin the chance to prove herself.

(Then Tyra yelled at me and I agreed to time travel back to filming and whip up model meals for the booted girls. And now we are here, so yeah …).

We opened up looking over the majesty that is L.A. before zeroing in on the model mansion where Maggie was lamenting the fact that nobody was given best photo on the way to becoming a finalist. She reminded us she is really into cultural appropriation, which didn’t go down well with Coura and Sandra who felt she was trying to be something she felt they wanted her to be. As an aside, Sandra is by far my fave right about now.

Brendi K then opened up about her tough upbringing … leading Sandra to give her a pep talk. She is my queen.

Tyra-mail arrived – she turns up like Probst aka whenever I start to fall for a contestant – alerting the models that they would need to both chill and glide. Given she knows I’m ice skating royalty, I knew it wasn’t that since I wasn’t approached to guest. Instead, they met Stacey McKenzie at Venice Skatepark for a walking tute before being thrown straight into a runway show through the skatepark as skaters shredded around them. Is shredding a thing?

Law Roach manifested to introduce the models to the Baja East designers who flooded the shit out of my basement. They got to work dressing the models while Stacey found Ivana to give her a confidence boost, sensing she wasn’t feeling herself and her walk. As the show commenced, Stacey and Law announced that the winner of the challenge would win a spot walking for Baja East at NYFW. All the models were doing well before Brendi K went off course, Coura and Jeana dominated, and Ivana also went bush before Khrystyana took out the win … and my heart.

The models returned home where Brendi K discovered a half-eaten apple in the fridge, setting off an epic tirade at the other models given she grew up poor and doesn’t feel like people are appreciating the opportunity they’ve been given.

Tyra-mail returned with a simple, you’re glowing which it turns out translated into a pregnancy shoot. Either being knocked up was a requirement of entering the competition, or there was going to be some prosthetics before they boho-ed it up. This triggered Rhiyan who was told she may not be able to have children and Erin who felt guilty for never doing a pregnancy shoot with her children. Thankfully, they both overcame the emotions. On the flipside, Maggie struggled to get out of her head and get a good shot, and Brendi K couldn’t connect with the shoot after having a miscarriage due to an abusive ex.

At panel, Khrystyana received universal praise – aside from her kitten heels – Rhiyan shared her fertility issues before getting some middling reviews. Rio slayed, Liz was beige, Kyla struggled, Jeana served MILF-realness, Erin killed it, Liberty – despite her political views – gave great toe, Sandra failed to impress, Shanice was boring, Brendi was torn to shreds, Christina got mixed reviews, Coura was perfection albeit boring in person, Maggie was torn to shreds for having conflicting personalities and looking confusing and Ivana’s confidence was once again called into question.

As expected, the dominant Coura was given best photo with Rio nipping at her heels, leaving Brendi K and Maggie as the bottom two. Ultimately Brendi K was saved, sending my girl the white-homegirl Maggie home.

Poor Maggie was shocked and heartbroken to find herself out of the competition first, though bless her cotton socks, tried her darndest to convince everyone she was simply grateful to see them succeed. Though, maybe that could be my Maccie Cheesing talking.

 

 

Inspired by the great Goop Queen Gwyneth’s Mac and Cheese recipe, this mildly healthier version of the mac family is pure perfection. I mean, how do you go past bacon … even as a model? You can’t, now eat yo’ mac.

Enjoy!

 

 

Maccie Cheesing
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
½ onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 rashers bacon, diced (optional, but like … are you mad? Everything’s better with bacon)
2 cups passata
small handful basil, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
250g mascarpone
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
½ cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium heat, cooking the macaroni a couple of minutes less than the packet instructions.

In another pan, fry the onion, garlic and bacon for a couple of minutes. Add the passata and simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir through the basil and oregano, remove from the heat and leave to rest.

In yet another pan, combine the mascarpone, nutmeg and ¾ of the parmesan over medium heat until everything just comes together, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Drain the swap pasta and return to the pan. Add the cheese mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour the bacon-passata goodness into a baking dish, and then spread the mac and cheese over the top. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan over the top, and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden and glorious.

Allow to rest for about five minutes before serving and devouring, like a pregnant model.

 

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Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas

After dabbling with television in the form of Rachel Bloom yesterday, I opted to swing on over to discuss cinema with my dearest school chum Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Despite taking out Best Supporting Actor at the Globes last year for his terrifying performance in Nocturnal Animals, he was egregiously snubbed of an Oscar nom. Said snub, dare I say it, was part of the inspiration behind holding a Golden Globe Gold celebration.

I first met Az in 2010 on the set of Kick-Ass – he was fresh off the success of Nowhere Boy and I was looking to make the jump from Nicolas Cage’s entourage. You could say it was fate, however I would call it Serendipity … which led me to travel back in time to write the hit rom-com Serendipity.

We became the fastest of friends and I, of course, vowed to make him a star. Together we jumped from Kick-Ass to co-starring with Glenn Close, working with Oliver Stone and culminated by playing the Marvel-Marvel version of Quicksilver. He rightly views his success in the biz as my handiwork, so was thrilled to take the time out for my inaugural Golden Globe celebration and reconnect.

Given he won just last year, I was hoping Az would have some intel on which males were taking out the gongs this year. Either he does have intel and I am way off base, or more than likely he has no idea and my finger is still on the pulse. He believes that Chris Plummer will be an upset to take over his Supporting Actor crown, while I’m backing Willem. For comedy, I say James Franco and he says Daniel Kaluuya – because Get Out is somehow a Comedy or Musical – and for Drama – mawma – I say Timothée Chalamet for no other reason than wanting to spend the summer in Italy eating peaches, and Az is going with Gary Oldman. We did agree with Best Picture – Drama though, and by that, we agreed that it should come down to Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri … which means it will go to Dunkirk.

One thing we could emphatically decide AND agree on is that my Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson are completely off the hook. In a good way, obvi.

 

 

It is hard to pick my one true passion in life, but if I had to narrow it down, big balls and a cheesy meat are high on the list. Particularly when together. The creamy, delicate risotto works perfectly with the cheesy, meaty punch of the filling to create a ball that would make Jenna Maroney faint.

Enjoy!

 

 

Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated over low heat while you work … or not, no judgement
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, 1 whisked for the risotto and the other two whisked together for coating
500g beef mince
400g can chopped italian tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
small handful of parsley, chopped
small handful of basil, chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
100g mozzarella, grated
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 – 1½ cup breadcrumbs
olive oil, to cook

Method
Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan until foamy and fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the rice. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes, or until starting to become translucent. Add the stock half a cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding the next cup whenever the stock has just been absorbed.

Remove from the heat, stir through ⅓ cup parmesan and season to taste. Once cooled slightly, stir through the egg and transfer to a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

While the risotto is cooling, brown the meat in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. You could add a lug of oil, but I found the fat released in cooking was more than adequate. When the meat is almost completely browned, add the tomatoes, peas, parsley, basil and chilli, and simmer until most of the liquid has gone. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining parmesan and the mozzarella, season lightly, and remove from heat to cool slightly.

To assemble, divide the risotto into 8 equal parts – I like big balls, you know – and take ⅔ of that ⅛ – just reread that because it does make sense, despite not feeling like it – in wet hand and press the mixture together to remove any air-bubbles. Flatten to a pattie and press a hole in the middle. Fill said hole with the meat mixture and cover with the remaining ⅓ of the ⅛ of rice. Press tightly to push out any excess air, shape into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until your eight-balls are done and transfer said balls to the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the flour in a bowl, the breadcrumbs in another and whisk the milk with the remaining two eggs in a third. Roll the balls in the flour, shake off excess and coat in the egg wash before rolling in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet – or return to the one it just came off if you’re lazy – and repeat the process until all your balls are thoroughly coated. And that innuendo wasn’t even intentional.

Spray with some olive oil to coat and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, or until resembling golden globes. Then devour, being careful not to burn your mouth off.

 

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Beef Julia Sawallington

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any more celebratory – I mean, celebrating Jen and Jane is a pretty killer start, no? – today also marks our 500th celebrity catch-up. Yes … five freaking hundred. And my dear friend Julia Sawalha is more than worthy of helping my mark this milestone.

While I only met Jules when she came in to audition for Ab Fab, I knew that she was destined for great things. One day on set she casually mentioned that she was up for the role of Lydia Bennett – in the good not Knightley version of P&P – and as a fan of the work, and a famed period acting and dialect coach, I offered up my services to help her snag the role slash steal the show.

Which I think you could agree, I was more than successful at that.

As seems to be a running theme of growing older, Jules and I aren’t able to catch-up as often as we like so she was thrilled to not only take the time out to honour Ab Fab … but also become our 500th date in the process.

“Ben, I don’t know if I’m worthy of being a milestone date. I mean, I’m no Skarsy, Solange, Meg, Kanye, CeCe – no, I am better than a Survivor that didn’t make the jury – Mischa, Nat Imbrugs, Lin Manuel. Let’s not talk about Purple Ben from this season of Australian Survivor.

“In any event, I’m somewhat worthy of your honour but would like some reassurance,” she coyly admitted.

“You’re a talented actress, one of my dearest friends and owned two iconic series! In addition, you’re beautiful, you’re a model. You look like Linda Evangelista … “

Half way through quoting the now iconic Aja, she accepted the honour and we got to work reconnecting, celebrating and chowing down on a big fat piece of meat. In the form of my Beef Julia Sawallington.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a big piece of meat. Well, unless it is wrapped in a nice, puffy dough. That is something I’ll never be able to go past. Like Jules or the good version of P&P.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beef Julia Sawallington
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg fillet of beef , trimmed
olive oil
unsalted butter
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
100g pate
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Bring a frying pan to heat over a high … heat while you rub the beef fillet with salt, pepper and a good ol’ lug of olive oil. Add another lug to the pan with a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary, and sear the beef for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to rest while we get to work on the rest.

Add the onion and garlic to the still hot pan and sweat for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms with another knob of butter, rosemary and thyme, reduce heat to low and cook for about twenty minutes, or until they’re nice and soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the pate and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bench and the second next to it with a two centimetre overlap. Press them together, smear the pate/mushroom mixture over the middle, top with the fillet and roll and/or fold the pastry to enclose.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked and blushing like a whore in church. Aka Kiwi hero slash Australian drunk Barnaby Joyce.

Rest for 5 minutes before serving in with gravy and mash. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Jane Porrocks Pies

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack

I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d top the delight of catching up with my dear friend Jen, nor am I sure why it has taken us so long to celebrate Ab Fab. In any event, I am filled with joy knowing that my dear friends are finally getting their moment in the sun that is this anthropological endeavour. None more so than the divine, bubbly, little voice herself, Jane Horrocks.

Now Babs – as her closest friends slash anyone that has read her Wikipedia entry know is her real name – and I have been the dearest of friends for close to three decades, after meeting during casting of The Witches.

In his golden years, Roald had asked me to oversee the production of all adaptations of his work, starting with The Witches. As soon as Jane walked in to the audition, I know that she was the only person that could play Susan … and is oft the case, vowed to make her a star.

When Jen mentioned transitioning Ab Fab into a show, she asked me to help assemble a killer cast, the likes of which had never been seen. I knew that Jane would be absolutely perfect for the role of Bubble and immediately drafted a contract and offered the role without Jen ever seeing her.

While she was annoyed by my underhanded tactic, her rage quickly dissipated after laying witness to Babs’ talent. I mean, she was almost nommed for an Oscar, for christsakes!

Given how busy I’ve been, I regret to admit that we haven’t seen as much of each other as we’d usually like. That being said, our friendship is so dear that it is always as though no time as past between our dates.

After a long hug we got to work drinking, laughing and reconnecting … and toasting to Ab Fab’s success with a big batch of Jane Porrocks Pies.

 

 

As British as tea, scones or the Queen – not Sandra, soz – pork pies are not just delicious, they’re comforting … and, dare I say it, life affirming. They just aren’t particularly healthy.

But who really minds about that? Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Porrocks Pies
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
500g Cumberland sausages, skins removed
200g streaky bacon, diced
⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the sausage, bacon, breadcrumbs, sage, nutmeg and a good whack of pepper in a large bowl, scrunching until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 even squares and line 18 holes of (two) muffin pans with pastry. Divide the mixture evenly between the holes and tightly packing it in … you know I love that. Fold any extra pastry over the mound of meat, brush with some egg and top each with the remaining squares of pastry. Fold it in on itself – obvi in a decorative fashion – cut a small hole in the top of each, brush with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-40 mins, or until golden and brown and cooked through.

Serve immediately, hot, slathered in caramelised onions.

 

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